Hiroki immediately gets a phone call from Kiri after him and Elis return home from the hospital. Seeing her brother occupied, Elis decides to go out to buy some paint. She runs into Takeuchi at the art store, and Takeuchi gives her a bit of a pep talk about how she should be serious about painting. On her way home, Elis notices the red sunset and realizes how much she wants to draw. The next day, Hiroki watches as Elis and her friends come to school, and Kiri notices that something is bothering him. Elis later thanks Takeuchi for giving her the resolution to make her decision: she’s going to France. Hiroki ends up learning the news from the director, who gives him an official form that needs to be fixed because Elis forgot to fill something in. When she comments on how lonely it’ll be with Elis gone, Hiroki responds by saying that it’s ok because it’s for the sake of her studying abroad. At home, Hiroki finds Elis asleep with a French language book beside her. She wakes up and tells him that she’s going to spend Christmas with her obaa-chan in France to get to meet with her and to look for a place to stay. Also, she’ll be at Tomoko’s house on Christmas Eve. Hiroki thinks that she’s already begun walking her own path. Elis then switches the topic to Kiri and says that she thinks Kiri is a good match for Hiroki.
At school, Sumire approaches Hiroki to ask about her reward again, but Hiroki still thinks that he’s unable to draw. In the spring, he’ll be graduating from college and becoming a teacher. Sumire asks if it’s really ok for it to remain this way even as Elis is going to France, but Hiroki thinks that Elis is moving forward faster than him. Sumire responds by saying that both of he and Elis are lying. In the hospital, Tomoko tells Elis that she’ll leaving to have her surgery the same day that Elis leaves for France. Tomoko wants them to move forward together. Meanwhile, Hiroki is talking with Kana while she’s writing her next story, featuring, for the first time, a male main character. It seems awfully similar to Hiroki’s own life, but before Kana can tell Hiroki how it ends, her editor calls her away. Hiroki is later shopping around when he gets a call from Kiri telling him that she’s bought his Christmas present. Kiri had earlier wanted to call off their Christmas plans so that Hiroki could be with Elis, and so now Hiroki suggests that they stay together somewhere overnight. He then heads to the jewelry store and buys a pair of a heart shaped earrings for his “girlfriend.” At home, Elis is staring at a blank canvas. This time, she’s actually able to squeeze the red paint out of the tube.
On the day of the Christmas party, Hiroki wakes up the sound of Elis’ voice. Not only is she already up, but she’s also prepared breakfast for him (at the expense of her own sleep). While walking to school, Elis says that she’ll never forget the seasons she spent with her brother. Hiroki thinks that it sounds a bit too much like they’re going to be separated for eternity, to which Elis responds that it’s not for eternity, but they are being separated. Elis then starts to say something about tonight, but she gets cut off by Kiri’s arrival. Kiri offers to come see her off tomorrow, but Elis says that she doesn’t want to hinder Kiri and Hiroki being together. During the Christmas party, Kana comes up to Hiroki to discuss her story. Apparently her main character is meek and ends up becoming very regretful. Although she hasn’t decided the conclusion, Kana does tell Hiroki that this is only for her novel. Hiroki has to write his own ending; Kana can’t do that for him. Behind the scenes, Sumire is getting ready for her performance when Elis approaches her. Sumire tells Elis that she won’t regret it even if she fails; for the sake of today, Sumire practices her hardest. She also tells Elis not to have any regrets. After Sumire leaves, Tomoko shows up and suggests that they go to the airport tomorrow together. However, Elis seems to be feeling better and thinks that they should just meet there. Elis then clears Tomoko’s doubts about still being around when the next Christmas comes around. The two promise to meet in Paris during Christmas of the next year. Everyone eventually gathers in the party hall and Sumire starts to perform her solo part.
I enjoyed this episode for all of the little things, like Kana and Sumire trying to lead Hiroki in the “right’ direction, Elis moving forward with her life, getting closer to using the red paint in a painting, and Tomoko’s friendship with Elis. But, as many people have said, I think the main thing that’s missing from this next to last episode is a big plot twist. Everything’s been decided in terms of relationships and there isn’t much to get in the way of Hiroki and Kiri’s relationship, unlike Asa’s disease in SHUFFLE! or Aisia’s meddling in DCSS. Really the only thing left is for Hiroki to start drawing again.
So with only one episode left, I’m predicting that Hiroki will end up with Kiri as his love, but will start painting again because of Elis (maybe his painting will be of Elis). Those guesses aren’t too hard to make based on what’s been happening up to now, and I don’t really think that they’re going to pull any big surprises. Anyway, onward to the final episode!